Woman of the Month: Jean Lumb

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m back with Woman of the Month! I took a bit of a break from these posts because I just wasn’t inspired anymore. But recently, I’ve become re-inspired, and I wanted to start it up again. So we back!

Woman of the Month is a feature on my blog where each month I highlight a woman in the world who I think garners recognition. I started this mainly to increase Girl Power and empowerment, and because there’s a lot of women I feel are overlooked and I wanted to bring attention to them.

This month, I’m highlighting Jean Lumb.

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Jean Lumb

Jean Lumb is a Chinese-Canadian woman born in Nanaimo, British Columbia. When she was sixteen, she moved to Ontario with her older sister and opened a fruit store. When Jean married her husband, who had immigrated from China, she lost her Canadian citizenship because, at the time, a woman’s nationality status was defined by that of her husband.

Lumb was the only woman in a delegation of 40 Canadian and Chinese-Canadian people who lobbied the government to lift the restrictions to family reunification.

Image source: The Canadian Encyclopedia

During this time, Lumb and her husband opened a restaurant, which was in operation for 26 years. She demonstrated Chinese cooking at department stores, museums, on TV and radio, and for other groups and organizations, which helped remove stereotypes surrounding Chinese women. She also established the Chinese Community Dancers of Ontario, which performed for Queen Elizabeth II at Canada’s Centennial celebrations in 1967.

Lumb chaired the Save Chinatown Committee, which fought against the destruction of the original Chinatown in Toronto. The committee’s plan was adopted in 1969 and the remaining Chinatown was preserved.

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She had so many appointments later in her life, too. Here are some:

  • First Chinese woman on the board of governors of the Women’s College Hospital;
  • First Chinese woman on the board of University Settlement House;
  • First Chinese restaurateur and first woman to receive the Fran Deck Award for outstanding achievement in Toronto’s restaurant industry;
  • First Chinese-Canadian woman to sit on the Board of Rotary-Laughlen Centre;
  • Member of the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship;
  • Founding director and honorary advisor of the Yee Hong Chinese Nursing Home of Greater Toronto;
  • Director of Mount Sinai Hospital and the Summer Centres for Seniors;
  • President of the Women’s Association of the Chinese United Dramatic Society;
  • Trustee of the Toronto Chinese Public School; and
  • Founding director of the Chinese-language TV broadcaster Chinavision.

Finally, she was the first Chinese Canadian woman and first restaurateur inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada. She also received the Governor General’s Award, Queen Elizabeth II Silver AND Golden Jubilee Medals; the City of Toronto Award of Merit; the YWCA Women of Change Honour Roll; Elizabeth Fry Society, Rebel for a Cause Honoree, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs, among others.

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Honestly, every time I do these posts, I’m reminded of how little we learn about our history and how amazing some women are. I mean, look at her accomplishments. And she was a mom of six.

Thanks for reading! xx

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7 thoughts on “Woman of the Month: Jean Lumb

  1. Really cool! I don’t know about newspapers of the time, but it annoys me how news articles today would be very likely to start any story about her with the “mom of six” part and not her actual accomplishments. So annoying. (And it’s why posts like this are so important!)

    Also, that really is stupid that a woman’s nationality was defined by her husband’s. Ick.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know! I mean, being that accomplished AND being a mom of six is fairly impressive, but she would 100% be referred to as “mom of six” rather than a restauranteur or something else.

      Gahhh I know, I’ll never understand the logic behind that. She was born in Canada! She’s a Canadian citizen! Just because her husband wasn’t shouldn’t take away the fact that she was

      Liked by 1 person

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